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Today we have a really fun tradition to share with y’all! You see, my Southern wedding tradition knowledge only goes so far, so when Emily sent me this adorable image from Meredith Melody I knew just who to turn to. Miss Sierra is not only our super adorable and talented assistant art director, she’s quite the sorority girl! Since her sorority does not have a “sorority sing,” she did what any good Southern girl would do… she asked her mama!

On a bride’s wedding day, sisters of many sororities show their love through different traditions. Mrs. Piland says that the tradition of her sorority, Alpha Gamma Delta, is to give their gift to the bride and her new husband right before the guests send them off on their honeymoon. Often done at the reception if there is not a traditional sendoff, the sisters present the bride with a red rose (the sorority’s flower) and serenade the bride with a song that they had sung together many-a-time.

Photo by Amanda Pair

The tradition is always carried through, whether with a full chorus, a shaky duet, or just a single rose and a hug as the bride makes her getaway. Sierra’s mama says that “the gift to the bride was not the rose or the song, but for her to remember that she would always belong to her sisters, and they would always belong to her.” Seriously, how sweet is that?! Can I please get an “aww”?

Photo by Jenny DeMarco

Does your sorority have a sing or a tradition for weddings? Are you planning something special for your sister’s big day? Are you looking forward to a sing on your own big day? Let us know in the comments!

P.S. Learn more about our crazy Southern traditions in these posts:
Bridal Portraits
Cake Pulls
Groom’s Cake

marissa Written with love by Marissa
  1. avatar Abby reply

    My sorority (Phi Mu- a very southern sorority!) does sing and I’ve been in many weddings where we sing a song “Never say goodbye” after the toasts! I love it and will definitely have it sung at my wedding too!

  2. avatar Southern Bride reply

    I will NOT being having any rituals related to my sorority at my wedding. I recently went to a wedding where almost every female in the room was in the same sorority. Those of us who weren’t were basically removed from the room during a few rituals. I felt like an unwelcome trespasser in the room. I didn’t want to be there. I vowed not to exclude my guests in a similar way at my wedding.

    • avatar Emily reply

      Aww, I’m sorry to hear that, Southern Bride! We love traditions when the focus is on inclusion, not exclusion. Happily, everyone has the option to choose what to include and what not to include at her own wedding, based on her feelings and guest list!

  3. avatar Meghan reply

    My sorority (Kappa Kappa Gamma) actually sings more than one song. I know different chapters choose different songs, but most of them have one in common and it involves more than just singing- slapping the floor, snapping, etc. I had it at my wedding and wouldn’t take it back! It’s always such a memorable time during one’s reception.

  4. avatar Ashley reply

    I was a Phi Mu @ Alabama and we have a sing that we did at the house when someone was pinned or engaged that we serenade the bride & groom with. We also sing “I Will Be Here.”

  5. avatar Lauren reply

    I am a Delta Gamma and at my wedding, the sisters in attendance sang our Dream Girl song. I don’t think it is an official tradition, but we have done it at all the recent weddings in our close circle of sisters.

    • avatar sadie reply


      Our DG chapter has always sung Dream Girl at every sister’s wedding… even if it was just one poor girl singing alone!

    • avatar Alli reply

      sadie: I’ve heard of DG chapters singing Dream Girls but our chapter does not. Which song is it? We sing Watershed by Indigo Girls often. But I don’t think at weddings (but I might at mine)

  6. avatar Kelly reply

    Eeee!!!! This is one of the parts I’m most looking forward to at my future wedding. I am a sister of Alpha Sigma Tau, and we serenade brides at their receptions with our fraternity hymn. I’m also incorporating my sorority’s flower (the yellow rose!) into my wedding bouquet + florals. Love love love!

    • avatar Marissa reply

      What a great idea, Kelly! I love that you’re incorporating your sorority flower into your florals! I’m sure that will be gorgeous! xo, Marissa

  7. avatar Marialeen reply

    I am also an Alpha Gam at the University of Alabama at Birmingham! The song that we sing at weddings is our “sweetheart song” – it’s the same one we sing when a sister get’s engaged. It is such a sweet and touching moment between everyone, especially for the bride! I am so excited to be in one of my sisters weddings this coming spring, who is also our chapter president and cannot wait to continue on this beautiful tradition!

  8. avatar Kate reply

    I am looking forward to doing the Pi Beta Phi “ring ching” at my wedding, since a number of my sorority sisters will be there. It’s a nice way to acknowledge and include girls who are special to you beyond those in your bridal party.

  9. avatar Tammy reply

    I went to college in Memphis, TN and was part of Zeta Tau Alpha. After moving to NYC, i found out the alumnae group that the other chapters throughout the US also sang the same song for special occasions, which brought a sense of connection. I hope when i get married, I will have loved ones from my past and present there to wish me well in such a meaningful manner.

  10. avatar Kay reply

    In my sorority, we don’t have an official song nationally, but our chapter sings ( and dances) to the same two popular songs we do at all our functions. It’s a great way to include the sorority but not make it feel exclusive.

  11. avatar Sierra reply

    I might just have to start this tradition among my friends, Marissa! Thanks for the fun post. Like some of y’all others have mentioned, my sorority has a special candlelight for engagements… my fingers are crossed for at least one this year!

  12. avatar Stephanie reply

    My Alpha Kappa Alpha sorors will definitely sing to me! It’s silly but it’s one of the things to which I’m most looking forward at my reception.

  13. avatar Kristen reply

    Having my sorority sisters sing to me at my wedding reception is one of the things I’m looking forward to the most! I’m sure I will have a mixture of emotions of tears, smiling and laughing like the rest of my sisters. Going to a Kappa Delta (my sorority) wedding is one of my favorite things to do with my sisters. Our chapter tradition is that we wear all black to the wedding. It signifies the sadness of losing a sister (even though we know it isn’t true- but we still do it). We definitely stand out from the rest of the guest. I couldn’t imagine my special day without my sisters. I mean most of my bridesmaids are my sorority sisters!

  14. avatar Caitlin reply

    I am an alumni of Chi Omega at UF and we have a special wedding song! It is also the song we sing during our candlelight ceremonies for Lavalieres and engagements! It’s our way of wishing the bride well on her next journey. It was one of the most special parts of my wedding reception this summer when they all surrounded me to sing. It made me truly appreciate all the special friendships I made during college and I’ll have for a lifetime :)

  15. avatar Southern Weddings Mini-Feature » Little Rock Wedding Photographer reply

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  16. avatar Cindy reply

    I think this goes just for my chapter but we have 2 special songs we sing at weddings. At the reception right before the groom takes the bride’s garter off, we have a special song that is a bit risque and is a funny wedding night send off. It is sang only to the bride so that no one else can hear, and we all have a lot of fun with it. Then just before the bride and groom leave the reception we sing her “Never Alone”. It is our chapter’s signature song and is really special to all of us.

  17. avatar Southern Wedding Tradition: White Bible « Southern Weddings Magazine reply

    […] yet? Send it my way! P.S. Here are a few of my faves: Burying the Bourbon A Moment of Prayer The Sorority Sing xo Marissa January 10, 2012 | view Marissa's blog 0 viewcomments hidecomments What […]

  18. avatar Cassandra Lackey reply

    I am in alpha gamma delta so i assume when the time comes for me to get married that my sister will do this for me. I know one of my sisters is getting married soon so i assume when i go to her wedding i will be doing the same for her.

  19. avatar Gold Ranch Wedding by Josh McCullock – Southern Weddings Magazine reply

    […] know we love a good sorority sing, and this one looks like it was a complete […]

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Y’ALL. We have SO much to catch up on, wedding-wise.

Yes, this is my fault: I dropped the big news and introduced you to my pretty ring, and then left you hanging. But believe me, I’ve been a busy little bee over here! Things are clicking into place, and I can’t WAIT to share!

When I asked on Twitter a few weeks back what you all wanted me to share first, I got a variety of answers including location, photography, fashion, and inspirations. The consensus, however, seemed to be to go in the order things developed for us. That makes sense to me, as well, which means we will be starting with the ceremony and reception locations. However, I really want to have photos to illustrate with before we chat about venues, so I promise I will share after I’m back from my visit home next week (for an engagement party — woo!).

In the meantime, I thought it might be fun to give you a little more of the back story on these people getting married before we jump into the nitty gritty! Y’all already know me pretty well (just read this and this for a refresher course!), but John is a little bit more of a mystery. Allow me to enlighten you…

John and I grew up in the same small town in Connecticut. We went to different elementary schools, but had many of the same friends. Despite this, we did not meet each other until middle school, when all the elementary schools pooled into one school. Let me tell you, John was one of THE coolest kids in middle school. Athletic, handsome, and just shy enough to make the girls all come to him (ha!). I was not immune to his charms, but sadly, the feelings were not mutual.

Moving on. Fast forward to high school, where we still were in interlocking groups of friends, but more acquaintances than anything else. I still thought he was cute, of course, but he was dating someone else.

Fast forward again to senior year. We had a class together with a mutual good friend, so we began to hang out more (though just in school). Our two groups of friends gradually seemed to mesh. Unbeknownst to me, John had developed a crush on me, but didn’t really know what to do about it. He even resorted to loudly talking about how much he liked me while sitting a few seats away from my younger sister in the cafeteria (hoping she would overhear and report back to me), but to no avail. (Darn you, Kim!)

Finally, in January of our senior year, he mustered up the courage to say something. He called me up out of the blue and blurted out “So… I think I like you.” To which I responded with nervous giggles, obviously. We eventually arranged a first date (ice skating), and have been together ever since. Happily, this means we will have awesome senior prom photos to share with our future children:

We went to different colleges our freshmen year, and then he transferred to Wheaton to be with me (all parties were much happier). Here we are during a freshman year visit, in 2006:

And here we are again, at our college senior formal (May 2009):

The summer after graduation, he again moved for me, accompanying me down to North Carolina to start my job at Southern Weddings (below, November 2009).

Now, two years later (and almost seven years after we began dating), we are planning a wedding! John is so much smarter than me, eternally patient, hilariously funny, filled with love for God, devilishly handsome, and my very best friend in the world. I am SO EXCITED to be marrying him! Here we are today:

Thank you so much for letting me take a little trip down memory lane! I promise, the good stuff (wedding details) is coming soon. Until then, tell me: how long did you and your fiance date before getting engaged?

emily Written with love by Emily
  1. avatar Lisa reply

    Oh my goodness, Emily! I’m so happy you wrote this post! I love a good love story, and yours is amazing :) You two are SO precious together and I love that you have prom pictures!! Adorable. I can’t wait to read lots more about your plans for the wedding…wishing you and John all the best along the way! :) xoxo

  2. avatar Erin reply

    Only six months. But we know pretty much from day 1 that we were going to get married.

  3. avatar Nancy Ray reply

    Love this post so much! The back story here is so fun to read. Will and I dated for 3 years, then were engaged for 1 before we said I do. Much like you, I fell for Will long before he fell for me! Glad our boys came to their senses ;)

  4. avatar mackenzie reply

    What an enduring love story! You guys are super cute- especially in your prom photo :)

  5. avatar MacKenzie reply

    So cute! I love that you actually have prom pictures together. Wow. We dated for just over a year before our super-short engagement. I wish we could show our kids awkward prom photos….not that yours are awkward ;)

    • avatar MacKenzie reply

      MacKenzie: oh my gosh. do you know what is awkward? commenting on a blog post twice because I didn’t think i’d submitted the first comment :)

  6. avatar Nam reply

    CONGRATS, Emily!! I love hearing stories about life-long friends/childhood sweethearts! :) That said, my wife and I had a very different story. We only knew each other for about 7 months before getting engaged!

  7. avatar Ali reply

    My FIancé Eric and I just got engaged back in May…we have also been dating 7 years! We met the summer between our freshman and sophomore years of college and have been together ever since! I knew he was the one for me after his Valentine’s Day surprise for me back in 2006. He showed up at my house with a blindfold and told me we were going for a little drive. He drove around for about 10 minutes, then walked me around through what seemed like a maze of hallways and steps. When he took off the blindfold, I was standing on the 50 yard line of Florida Field (only my favorite place in the whole world) looking at a picnic basket filled with lobster, steak, champagne and peach cobbler. A blanket was laid on the grass and candles were lit all around it. From that moment on, I knew he would be my husband!

  8. avatar emily hansel reply

    Long courtships rock! We started dating at the beginning of my sophomore year in college (after being friends for a year) and got engaged 7 and a half years later, and married a year after that. We’ve not yet been married a year and a half but it was our 10 year anniversary last week! I think Drew actually liked me first (or realized he did) It never crossed my mind he would be interested in me :) I poked fun at us with our save the dates, listing our the numbers of our wedding date with other things that took an extremely long time (ie 10 decades to build Notre Dame cathedral, bc we got married on the 10th). It was a little tongue in cheek but I wouldn’t re-write our story in any way!

  9. avatar Melissa Hopkins reply

    Great story Emily! Planning a wedding is such an exciting time. MY husband and I did not have a one courtship at all. We meet in February of 2007, were engaged by September and married in July of 2008. It was one of those instances where we knew when we met that this was it!

    • avatar Emily reply

      Wow, Melissa! Well, sometimes when you know, you know!

    • avatar Melissa Hopkins reply

      Emily: Wow I just noticed all of the spelling and grammatical errors in my comment! Kudos to you for figuring out what i wrote! ;)

  10. avatar Jordan reply

    My fiance and I went to high school together and were super close friends (that liked each other, but didn’t realize it was mutual), so we have a prom picture together :) We dated for two years, and our wedding is planned for next summer.

  11. avatar Ann Marie Leveille reply

    Y’all are precious! And remind me of me and my hubbie! He’s 2 years older than me and were good friends throughout high school. But the spring of my junior year (he was already graduated) we became closer and closer, until one day that following summer, we realized we liked each other! I was 17, he was 19, and we have been together ever since! (that was 1997) We knew by my 18th birthday that we would stay together! We dated for 3 years, when were engaged Valentines Day of 2000. Then, the long-haul engagement of close to 2 years! (to finish school) We finally married in November of 2001! So we are so excited to be coming up on the first big milestone anniversary of 10 years this fall!!
    Good luck planning!! I know it will be fabulous!

    • avatar Emily reply

      I love your story, Ann Marie! Even though we knew we were going to be together way before seven years, I just couldn’t do a long engagement — so we waited until the time was right for us!

  12. avatar Bri @ Posh Purpose reply

    Congrats again, Emily! I just got engaged two weekends ago. We had been dating for almost 11 months – he proposed 364 days since we had met (for the second time).

  13. avatar madelynne miller reply

    My fiance and I got engaged after dating for just over 3 years. We were BEST buddies for about 6 months after both getting accepted in the architecture program in Auburn and then it dawned on me that I was hopelessly in love with him. I told him on my birthday how I felt, and we have been together ever since. We wanted to finish school – and now we’re both working and living in Atlanta and loving every minute!

    PS: I love wedding blogs so much, he created a fake blog url and “subscribed” me to it in google reader, I clicked on it and didn’t realize it was his proposal until I saw his picture at the end holding the ring (appropriately, I was watching the bachelorette too)!

    Best wishes!!

  14. avatar Summer reply

    My husband and I dated for over six years before he finally popped the question! I guess that’s what you get though when your high school sweethearts, but the wait is so worth it!

  15. avatar ashley reply

    My now husband and I started dating our freshman year of high school, thirteen years ago this December! We took a two year break at the beginning of college, but remained close and visited each other all the time. We started dating seriously again for our last two years of college, moved to Boston together and finally got engaged in April 2010, almost 12 years after we first started dating. We got married on Sunday and are currently on honeymoon in Thailand (where clearly I’m catching up on my wedding blogs in between laying out and eating)!

  16. avatar Amy C reply

    Congrats! What a sweet story. My fiance and I dated three different times before it “clicked.” :-) 9 years ago, 4 years ago, and then last fall when everything finally fell into place. I suppose “third time’s the charm” was true in our case!! This “round,” as we like to call it, we dated for 8 months before he proposed in June, and we’re getting married Memorial Day weekend. Yay!!

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